The strapline for Ming watches on the internet, “designed in Kuala Lumpur, made in Switzerland”, gives you an inkling that Ming is not your traditional watch brand. Ming Thein, a renowned commercial photographer from Malaysia, was one of the six founding fathers of the brand that arrived on the scene in 2017 with the 17.01. Despite the lacklustre names of its collections, Ming’s emphasis on top quality design combined with outsourced movements and attractive prices has paid off. Ming swept up the Horological Revelation prize at the GPGH 2019 with the 17.06 and had two finalists in the GPHG 2020 with the 18.01 Dive watch and the 27.01 Ultra Thin. The brand’s thinnest and dressiest model – the 27.01 – reappears today with a gradient guilloché dial as the 27.02.
As mentioned, the names of Ming’s collections are not very descriptive. Be that as it may, the 27.01 of 2020 was an evolution of the inaugural 17.01 model. The difference was that in the three years that separate them, Ming Thein mastered 3D CAD and designed the 27.01 from scratch in 3D. Like the inaugural 17.01, the overall mood of the watch was minimalist, but the case thickness was whittled down from 9.3mm to an impressively svelte 6.9mm. The latest evolution, the 27.02, respects the ultra-thin dimensions of the case (38mm x 6.9mm) but gives the dial a fancier gradient guilloché dial.
Similar in construction to the dial of the 27.01, with its metal chapter ring with cut-out markers, the 27.02 replaces the external chapter ring with a blue stamped Clous de Paris guilloché pattern and uses a sapphire gradient dial in the centre. Although the two separate elements seem to fuse into one another, technically we are looking at two different layers with different surface finishes.
The gradient sapphire crystal fades from an intense black in its centre to a less saturated tone revealing ever-increasing areas of the blue guilloché decoration below. The hour markers that appear to float above the dial are laser-etched into the sapphire crystal and filled with white material. In keeping with the minimalist dress watch aesthetics, the hour and minute hands are skeletonised, and there is not a trace of lume.
The overarching brief of all-round reduction for the Ming 27.01 has been carried through to the case of the Ming 27.02. Measuring 38mm with a height of 6.9mm (including crystals), excess material has been removed from the periphery of the case, with hollows extending through the lugs. Surface finishings and layering are used to create different reflections and textures on the case. Crafted in stainless steel, the watch alternates polished, brushed and matte blasted surfaces and features the hallmark ‘flying blade’ or pagoda-style lugs.
Ming Calibre 7001.M1
During 2020 Ming was able to secure some additional ETA Peseux 7001 movements in the specification required. Like the 27.01, the 27.02 relies on a heavily reworked Peseux 7001 with a 42-hour power reserve. Retaining only the gear train and escapement, the black chrome bridges and plates are remade by Manufacture Schwarz-Etienne. Ming’s mandate of creating a solid baseplate with maximum openings on the upper bridges to display the moving components ensures a view of as much of the movement as possible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
Straps, Availability and Price
Once again, Ming has partnered with Jean Rousseau Paris for the strap, and the watch comes with a blue-grey calfskin strap fitted with the latest flying-blade steel buckle. The curved bars feature a quick release system allowing you to change the strap of the watch with ease. The Ming 27.02 comes in a leather travel pouch handmade by Studio Koji Sato. Given the limitations on movement supply, the Ming 27.02 will be limited to 200 watches. It is available to order from 15 January 2021 exclusively from www.ming.watch. The price is CHF 4,950 and deliveries are expected to begin in November 2021.
More information at Ming Watch.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.